Kinchina Conservation Park 5CP-277 and VKFF-1764

Last night (Friday 24th March 2017) I activated the Kinchina Conservation Park 5CP-277 and VKFF-1764, for the final Friday event for the 2016/2017 Spring/Summer season for the VK5 National & Conservation Parks Award.

The park is about 80 km east of Adelaide, and located a few km to the west of the town of Murray Bridge.

I have activated the park once previously, back in November 2016.  For more information on that activation, please see my previous post at…..

https://vk5pas.org/2016/11/03/kinchina-conservation-park-vkff-1764/

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Kinchina Conservation Park.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

The park is just a short drive from home for me.  I headed east along the South Eastern Freeway, until I reached the Callington interchange, and then travelled east long the old Princes Highway until I reached Maurice Road.  I soon reached the park boundary on the western side of the park.  The park, being very new, is well signposted.  It is interesting to note that Location SA Map Viewer does not show the park on the southern side of the railway line.  It only shows the park being on the northern side of the railway line.

Out of interest I crossed the railway line to see if I could access the park on the northern side of the line.  The track ended within about 20 metres and there were some gates leading to private property, so access to that section of the park was not possible.  If you choose to activate from the southern section of the line (which is where I have operated from previously), there is a small car parking area.  The scrub here is quite heavy, but there is enough room to string out  dipole.

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Above:- The western side of the park, off Maurice Road.

I headed further east along Maurice Road for a few km, passing the quarry on the northern side of the road, until I reached the second entry point to the park from Maurice Road.  There is a large car parking area here, with a small pedestrian gate leading into the park.

I decided to go for a walk through the park before setting up.  Kinchina Conservation Park was gazetted in September 2016.  It is 414 hectares in size and protects grassy woodland communities considered of high conservation significance.  The park was named for the rail siding where local Monarto Granite was loaded to be sent to Adelaide by Jessie and Charles Duncan from 1879.  This granite was used in many buildings including Colonel Light’s statue, St Peters Cathedral stepgs, Electra House on King William Street and for kerbing in Adelaide’s central business district.

The eastern section of the park is very close to the eastern side of the town of Murray Bridge.  Glimpses of the town, including the prison, can be seen through the trees from Kinchina.

The ‘Getaway Car Loop’ is an easy 30-45 minute walk from the carpark.  It is a little hilly, but is an easy walk.  It took me passed an old well and stock drinking area.

There is also an old cottage and well which you pass on the walk.

Once back from the walk, I decided to set up at this spot.  It was a warm afternoon, with the temperature being 31 deg C, so I set up the fold up table and deck chair under the shade of some trees.  I ran my normal equipment for this activation, which consisted of the Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts, and the 80/40/20m linked dipole, supported on the 7m heavy duty telescopic squid pole.

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Above:- Map showing my operating spot in the western section of the park.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

Prior to calling CQ I had a tune around the band hoping to find some other park activators.  It wasn’t long before I found Adrian VK5FANA calling CQ on 7.135 from the Bird Islands Conservation Park 5CP-021 and VKFF-0871 on the Yorke Peninsula.  Adrian was romping in, 5/9 plus.

I then moved up to 7.144 and asked if the frequency was in use, and this was answered by Mick VK3GGG/VK3PMG to advise that the frequency was clear.  Mick was a strong 5/9 + from western Victoria.  This was followed by Dennis VK2HHA who was very strong from Albury in New South Wales.  It wasn’t long before a mini pile up ensued, with many of the regular park hunters featuring in my log.  Contact number 15 for the activation was another Park to Park QSO, this time with Neil VK4HNS who was portable in the Plunkett Conservation Park VKFF-1631.

I was then called by Mark VK5QI to advise that T2AQ from Tuvalu was on 7.139 and listening on my frequency of 7.144.  Although the frequency was totally quiet at my end, I decided to QSY up the band to 7.148.  First caller there was Wade VK1FWBD, running QRP 5 watts.  I went on to work a total of 32 stations on 7.148, from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6, VK7, and New Zealand.  This included Ken ZL4KD, who is the ZLFF co-ordinator in New Zealand, and my good wife Marija VK5FMAZ who had just arrived home from work.

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It was getting quite late, 0820 UTC (6.50 p.m. South Australian local time) and I was a bit concerned that I may have left my run on 20m a little too late.  I headed to 14.310, but found the normal net on 14.307, so I moved up a little and called CQ on 14.311.  This was answered by Maurizio IU5HIV in Italy.  This was followed by Ray VK4LN, Greg VK8GM in Alice Springs, and then Gerard F1BLL in France.  I worked a total of 12 stations on 20m, with signals being quite low down from Europe on the long path.  I’m pretty sure I had left it a little too late to work Europe.

I then saw a facebook post that Adrian VK5FANA was calling CQ on 3.610 on 80m and was desperate for contacts.  So I lowered the squid pole and inserted the links in the dipole and headed off to 80m.  When I got to 3.610 it was completely quiet, so I thought I may have missed Adrian.  I listened for a few minutes but did’t hear a thing, so I decided to give Adrian a call, who responded with a 5/9 + signal.  After speaking with Adrian I moved up the band to 3.615 where I worked a total of 8 stations from VK3, VK4, VK5  and New Zealand.  It was nice to log Neil ZL4UC at Dunedin with a strong 5/9 signal.

Bill VK4FW called me to advise that there was an Italian station in a IFF reference area on 14.280.  So down with the squid pole and out with the links.  Sadly when I got to 14.280 I couldn’t hear a thing.  I tuned across the band, and only heard a handful of European stations.  It was now 0900 UTC (7.30 p.m. South Australian local time) and long path had almost closed.  I did however, hear Take JA1RKL calling CQ on 14.265 with a strong signal.  So I called Take and we had a short chat.  My signal in Japan was 5/7.

I then headed back to 40m and called CQ on 7.135.  It was now getting dark and was a beautiful 24 deg C.  My CQ call was answered by Chris VK2SR, followed by John W2VP who was 5/9 +.  John and I had a 20 minute chat and we were joined by Adrian VK5FANA who tried to get through to John, but was unfortunately just under John’s noise floor.  John was using a 40m station I can only dream of: a 4 element beam at 150 feet and 1.2 kw.  No wonder he was so loud.

I went on to work a further 15 stations from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK6, and VK7.  Unfortunately whilst I was in QSO with Kim VK3KIM, the squid pole came crashing down in the gully breezes and this resulted in the wire for the dipole snapping near the centre piece.  So it was a mad rush back to the vehicle to get a replacement antenna.  By the time I had got back on air Kim had moved on.

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Time as marching on and I was hoping to book into the 7130 DX Net for a few rounds before going QRT.  But before checking in to the net, I tuned across the 40m band and found Yves FK4RD calling CQ on 7.153 from New Caledonia.  Yves had quite a pile up going, with stations calling from North America, VK & ZL.  I remained patient, and got through after half a dozen calls.

I then moved down the band and found Pedro NP4A working VK’s on 7.140.  Pedro was 5/9 +, and was with Guy FM5WE in Martinique.  I was quite excited, as Martinique would be a new country for me whilst operating portable.  I did manage to get through to Pedro, but sadly Guy had moved on.

I then booked in to the 7130 DX Net, where I worked Bill W1OW in Massachusetts.  Bill is a keen park hunter and I was pleased to be able to give him a new park.  I also spoke with Chuck K9RM in Indianna, Michael KA5PNX in Nebraska, and Brian ZL2ASH in Wellington New Zealand.

At the end of the net I called CQ on 7130 and this was answered by Robert VK7VZ, followed by Glyn VK5GP in Murray Bridge who was 5/9 ++++.  I then had a chat with Greg VK8HLF in Darwin who reported that my signal was progressively getting stronger, 3000 km to the north.  I then had a little run of calls from North American stations, thanks to being posted on the DX cluster.  This included Mark K1RO in New Hampshire, Bill N3JDR in Pennsylvania, Rich KB2DMD in Pennsylvania, Gary K9RX in South Carolina, Luc VA2HP in Quebec Canada, Bryan WA7PRC in Washington, Pete N0FW in Ohio, Kay KA9CFD in Illinois, and Dick K5AND in Texas.

I had spent 5 hours in the park and had a total of 109 contacts in the log, including some terrific DX on 40m.  I was really pleased.

Here is a short video of some of the DX I worked on 40m…..

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5FANA/p (Bird Islands Conservation Park 5CP-021 and VKFF-0871)
  2. VK3GGG
  3. VK3PMG
  4. VK2HHA
  5. VK4AAC/p
  6. VK3TKK/m
  7. VK3OF
  8. VK5PL
  9. VK4FW
  10. VK2IO
  11. VK5KLV
  12. VK2LEE
  13. VK1DI
  14. VK4KUS
  15. VK4HNS/p (Plunkett Conservation Park VKFF-1631)
  16. VK5QI
  17. VK1FWBD
  18. VK4PDX
  19. VK4FSCC
  20. VK3GTS
  21. VK2MOR/m
  22. VK7DW
  23. VK2YW
  24. VK3FLES
  25. VK5KC
  26. VK3FSPG
  27. VK3MPR
  28. VK5FMWW
  29. VK5FVSV
  30. VK5ZGY
  31. VK4NH
  32. VK4BTF
  33. ZL4KD
  34. VK5NIK
  35. VK5FMAZ
  36. VK3HSB
  37. VK6NU
  38. VK3AJA
  39. VK2SK
  40. VK4QQ
  41. VK3HK/p
  42. VK3CBP
  43. VK2NAI
  44. VK7JON
  45. VK3HBG
  46. VK2RR
  47. VK3VIN
  48. VK3QA
  49. VK2SR
  50. W2VP
  51. VK4RZ
  52. VK2QK
  53. VK2NEO
  54. VK4HNS
  55. VK3FORD
  56. VK3QB
  57. VK3ZD
  58. VK3MKM
  59. VK6AV/p
  60. VK7FRJG
  61. VK3ARH
  62. VK7CW
  63. VK3ACT
  64. VK4SMA
  65. VK3KIM
  66. FK4RD
  67. NP4A
  68. W1OW
  69. K9RM
  70. KA5PNX
  71. ZL2ASH
  72. VK7VZ
  73. VK5GP
  74. VK8HLF
  75. K1RO
  76. N3JDR
  77. VK4HBT
  78. VK2CPC
  79. VK4HG
  80. KB2DMD
  81. K9RX
  82. VA2HP
  83. WA7PRC
  84. VK2ARL
  85. N0FW
  86. KA9CFD
  87. K5AND

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. IU5HIV
  2. VK4LN
  3. VK8GM
  4. F1BLL
  5. IZ8DFO
  6. ON4VT
  7. IK4GRO
  8. VK4FW
  9. VK6NU
  10. ON4BB
  11. JA1VRY
  12. F4GYG
  13. JA1RKL

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5FANA/p (Bird Islands Conservation Park 5CP-021 and VKFF-0871)
  2. VK5TW
  3. VK3SQ
  4. VK3PNF
  5. ZL4UC
  6. VK4FW
  7. VK4SC
  8. VK3LSD
  9. VK2YX

 

 

References.

Government of South Australia, 2016, <https://www.environment.sa.gov.au/Home/Full_newsevents_listing/News_Events_Listing/160922-new-conservation-parks&gt;, viewed 25th March 2017

Totness Recreation Park VKFF-1754 and the John Moyle Memorial Field Day 2017

Yesterday afternoon (Saturday 18th March 2017), for the John Moyle Memorial Field Day (JMMFD) I ventured out to the Totness Recreation Park VKFF-1754 for a 6 hour stint in the Field Day.  Totness is located about 35 km south east of Adelaide and just 2.5 km from my home QTH.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Totness Recreation Park in the Adelaide Hills.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

I had been up to Totness 4 days prior for the regular Friday get together for the VK5 National & Conservation Parks Award.  In fact this was to be my fourth activation at the park which is very close and handy to my home.  Last year I operated from Totness for the Remembrance Day (RD) Contest.

For full information on the Totness Recreation Park and my previous activations, please see my previous posts at……

https://vk5pas.org/2017/03/15/totness-recreation-park-vkff-1754-2/

https://vk5pas.org/2016/08/15/totness-recreation-park-vkff-1754-and-the-rd-contest/

https://vk5pas.org/2016/08/03/totness-recreation-park-vkff-1754/

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Above:- Aerial shot showing the location of the park in respect to my home QTH.  Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

In 2016 for the JMMFD I operated portable from the Monarto Conservation Park, about 30 km east of my home.  And in previous years I have operated from the Coorong National Park.  This year I decided to operate from Totness, simply due to its closeness to home.

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I operated from my ‘normal’ operating spot at Totness, in the southern section of the park, off Haines Fire Track.  There is a small area here where you can park your car off the track, at the gate leading into the park.  There is also a nice cleared area of about 4 metres, between the boundary fence and the scrub.  Plenty of room to string out a dipole.

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Above:- Aerial shot showing my operating spot in the south western section of the park.  Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

My operating equipment

For this years JMMFD I ran the Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts output, and a 20/40/80m linked dipole, supported on a 7 metre heavy duty telescopic squid pole (antenna was inverted vee configuration).  I powered the radio with a Matson 44 amp hour power pack, and used my solar panels to top up the battery.  I used VK Contest Log on my Mac laptop.  This is terrific logging software by Mike VK3AVV.  I was set up in the park under the shade of some gum trees, sitting in a deck chair, with my equipment on a fold up table.

What is the John Moyle Memorial Field Day?

The Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA) website states the aim of the JMMFD is:

“The aim is to encourage and provide familiarisation with portable and field operation, and provide training for emergency situations. The rules are therefore specifically designed and focussed to encourage field operations.”

It further states:

“The contest is run each year in memory of the late John Moyle who was a long term editor of the Wireless Weekly, (later Radio & Hobbies – later Radio Television & Hobbies) from 1947 until his untimely death in 1960.”

Who was John Moyle?

Last year I decided to do a bit of research on John Moyle, the man in whose name the event is named after.  The information below is courtesy of research I undertook on the web, and also Peter Vk3RV, the WIA historian.

John Murray Moyle (VK2JU) was born on the 28th February 1908 in Malvern, Victoria.  He was educated at Scotch College in Melbourne where he was the Editor of the school magazine and involved in the debating team.  John’s first role in radio was with radio station 3DB in Melbourne where he assisted well known broadcaster Ren Miller in the commercial advertising department and also wrote short stories and technical articles on radio for the ‘Listener In’ (Melbourne).  In 1932, John joined the staff of ‘Wireless Weekly‘, a Sydney publication, and soon became Assistant Technical Editor, and then Technical Editor.  John was also first licenced in 1932 as a radio amateur.

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John Murray Moyle.  Image courtesy of Peter VK3RV

In 1933 John married Alice Marshall Brown (1908 Bloemfontein South Africa -2005).  She was one of the seminal figures in Australian ethnomusicology and founding members of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies.

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Alice Marshall Moyle nee Brown.  c/o discogs.com

John and Alice had two daughters, Josephine and Carolyn.

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The Moyle family, c. 1950’s.  Image courtesy of hiddenheroesofaustralianhistory.wikifoundry.com

In April 1939, ‘Wireless Weekly‘ became a broadcasting programme weekly publication, with its technical activities separated into a monthly magazine entitled ‘Radio and Hobbies‘.  John was the Technical Editor of the new magazine, and some became the Editor.

John served as a Squadron Leader with the Royal Australian Air Force during World War II.  His service number was 263664.  He was in charge of all radar publications at the Melbourne RAAF Headquarters, and was discharged on the 18th January 1946.

John Moyle served for many years as a Federal Councillor with the WIA and President of the NSW Division.  In 1959 he was selected to represent the WIA as an officially accredited member of the Australian delegation to the Administrative Radio Conference of the International Telecommunications Union, held in Geneva Switzerland.  He also made weekly technical broadcasts on radio station 2UE in Sydney.

John Moyle died on the 10th March 1960, aged just 52 years, after a short illness.  His resting place is the Northern Suburbs Memorial Gardens and Crematorium in North Ryde, NSW.

John Moyle VK2JU Obit lr.jpg

My results from this year’s JMMFD

I entered in the Six Hour Portable Operation category.  Specifically the Single Operator, Phone Only, HF Bands section.

I operated from 3.20 p.m. South Australian local time (0450 UTC) until 9.20 p.m. (1050 UTC).  I chose to operate a little later in the day due to the heat.  It was nearly 35 degrees C here yesterday and very hot.

My first contact of the Field Day was with Adrian VK3VFR on 40m.  My final contact of the Field Day was on 40m with my mate Gerald, VK2HBG who was operating portable.

Within my 6 hour block of operating I made a total of 241 contacts.  These were all on SSB on the 20, 40, and 80m bands.

  • 20m = 3
  • 40m = 171
  • 80m = 67

The graph below shows all of my activity during the contest.

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The vast majority of my activity was on the 40m band.  The graph below shows my activity on the 40m band during the Field Day.

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I only made 3 contacts on the 20m band.  Those stations were Colin VK4PDX, VK6NC/p and an old friend Miles VK6MAB.  This was Miles first time on air in 2 years.  I was tempted to try 20m for some DX, but it can get rather confusing with local contests as I’ve experienced in the past.  So I was rather pleased when no Europeans responded to my CQ calls.  The graph below shows my very limited activity on the 20m band.

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The 80m band was particularly noisy due to all of the storm activity in New South Wales.  But despite that I managed a total of 67 contacts there from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK7, VK8, and New Zealand.

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DX worked during the contest.

As I mentioned above I was very reluctant to put out CQ calls on 20m during the late afternoon, as it can become very confusing with local contests with the DX.  As I was in a park, many of the European stations would have been very keen to work me, but explaining re the JMMFD and successfully logging exchanges has proven difficult in the past.

I was pleased to work Bill ZL3VZ/p in Blenheim, New Zealand, a number of times on both 40m and 80m.

Park to Park contacts

  • Neil VK4HNS/p, Lamington National Park VKFF-0280
  • Tony VK7LTD/p, Narawntapu National ParkVKFF-0005
  • Peter VK3YE/p, Mornington Peninsula National Park VKFF-0333
  • Jim VK1AT/2, Kosciuszko National Park VKFF-0269
  • Hans VK6XN/p,Swan Estuary Marine Park VKFF-1455

How does my score compare to previous years?

This year I made a total of 241 contacts with a claimed score of 482 points.

  • 2016 = 229 contacts (458 points).  First place in the portable, single op, phone only, HF, 6 hour category.
  • 2015 = 238 contacts (476 points).  First place in the portable, single op, phone only, HF, 6 hour category.
  • 2014 = 155 contacts (310 points).  First place in the portable, single op, phone only, HF, 6 hour category.

Some final comments and tips for newbies to Contests.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself again for this year’s JMMFD.  I love getting out portable at any time, and the JMMFD is just another excuse to do exactly that.  It is also a little more laid back compared to some of the very big international contests that are held during the year.

I experienced some quite long periods of calling CQ without any callers.

Here are a few tips for newcomers to Contests/Field Days.

  • Read the contest rules
    • again this year I was called by a handful of amateurs who did not know the rules of the JMMFD.  It is essential that you read the rules and check out the basic facts before participating.
  • Do not call the station if you’re not prepared to exchange contest reports
    • Yes, I had a few calls from stations who stated ‘I’m not in the contest, but I thought I’d give you a call‘.  That’s ok, even if you’re not in the contest.  But don’t tell the station that you are not going to exchange contest reports.  Some of the real serious contesters will get quite angry with you.  In essence, all you are doing is wasting valuable contest time.
  • Do not call the station unless you know their callsign
    • Do not call the station unless you are aware of their callsign.  You may have already logged the station and therefore cannot work them again.  This happened a few times.
  • Be concise and brief
    • Do not engage the contest station in a lengthy conversation unless they engage you.  All that is required is a signal report and an exchange of sequential numbers for the contest.  Contests are competitive by nature and every second counts.  Do not engage the other station in conversation about your station, the weather, our QTH etc.

And what about this 59 signal report all the time?  By gentleman’s agreement, the exchange between stations for signal reports in contests is 59.  Even if the station is only 55, the general exchange is 59.  Some amateurs may not like that, but it is common practice in contests, to avoid having to listen for and log the ‘real’ signal report.

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It was a slow drive along the tracks back home, as there were plenty of Kangaroos out and about.  Once home I enjoyed a nice meal of Marija’s home made lasagna.

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References.

Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, 2016, <http://aiatsis.gov.au/collections/collections-online/digitised-collections/musical-connections-alice-boyle/biography&gt;, viewed 20th March 2016.

Commonwealth of Australia, 2016, <http://www.ww2roll.gov.au/&gt;, viewed 20th March 2016.

Discogs, 2016, <https://www.discogs.com/artist/1792346-Alice-M-Moyle&gt;, viewed 20th March 2016

Wiljani Conservation Park 5CP-274 and VKFF-1159

Yesterday afternoon/evening (Friday 17th March 2017) I activated the Wiljani Conservation Park 5CP-274 and VKFF-1159 for the regular Friday get-together for the VK5 National & Conservation Parks Award.  The park is located about 55 km north east of Adelaide and just a few km north of the little town of Mount Pleasant, on the southern edge of the world famous wine growing region of the Barossa Valley.

I have activated the park previously, back in April, 2016, and qualified it on that occasion for both the VK5 Parks Award and World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF).

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Wiljani Conservation Park, north east of Adelaide.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

Wiljani Conservation Park was gazetted on the 25th February 2016, so it is a relatively new park.  Wiljani was a family group of the Peramangk aboriginal people whose traditional lands are primarily located in the Adelaide Hills.  The lands of the Tarrawatta and Yira-Ruka (Wiljani) extended to the east down as far as Mount Torrens and Mannum.

When I was last at the park there was a beautiful pine forest, part of Mount Crawford Forest, on the western side of the park.  On this visit however, the forest was no more.  It had been cleared and what was a beautiful forest was now a barren landscape.  There were logging trucks and other machinery busily loading pine logs.

Also on my first visit to Wiljani, there was no Conservation Park sign in existence.  This was still the case during this visit, with the old ‘Boundary Road Conservation Reserve’ sign at the south western corner of the park.

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The only way into this park is via Elliotts Boundary Road which runs along the southern section of the park.   The gates near the south western corner of the park, leading into the now cleared forest, are normally locked.  On this occasion they were open due to the logging activities.  There is a small wire fence which runs along the western boundary of the forest and the park, so you could access the park from the western boundary by climbing the fence.

The old wire fence near the southern corner of the park has been brought down in parts.  This is alongside a metal gate with an old track on the other side of the fence.  The track appears to have been an old access track through the park, but is now grown over.  I carried my gear about 20 metres along the track and found a nice shady spot and set up my station: Yaeu FT-857d and the 20/40/80 m linked dipole, supported by the 7m telescopic squid pole.  I ran 40 watts output for this activation.   It was quite a warm afternoon, with the temperature being a beautiful 26 deg C.

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Above:- Aerial shot showing my operating spot in the southern part of the Wiljani Conservation Park.  Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

After setting up I switched on the radio, which was already on 7.144, my nominated operating frequency.  The band was dead quiet, with no man made noise and virtually no static.  Absolutely beautiful conditions.  I asked if the frequency was in use, and Peter VK3PF responded to let me know that there was an OE station from Austria on the frequency.  Very soon after I heard OE11SO/p calling CQ for the Special Olympics.  He was a good 5/7 signal.

Peter and I QSYd down to 7.135 and logged each other.  This was followed by a number of the normal park hunter stalwarts, Les VK5KLV, then Gerard VK2IO, and then Mick VK3GGG/VK3PMG.  Contact number eight in the log was Rob VK4AAC/p who was activating the Eumundi Conservation Park VKFF-1538.  This was a first time activation of the park, and I was very happy to log Rob, Park to Park.

Despite the band conditions being very good, there were very few callers.  So I took the opportunity of heading back up to 7.144 where I tried to get through to OE11SO/p.  He had quite a large pile up from Europe, many of which I could not hear.  But to my pleasant surprise, he asked for stations outside of Europe.  I called a few times, but sadly my little signal was not able to be heard in Europe.

I returned back to 7.144 and called CQ and this was answered by David VK5PL who was operating portable in the Sandy Creek Conservation Park 5CP-204 and VKFF-0933.  David was very low down, but I was able to hear him well due to there being no man made noise on the band from Wiljani.  Callers continued to be very slow, with just a 2 further stations logged.

I decided to try my luck on the 80m band, as I had received an SMS from Ivan VK5HS in the Riverland region of South Australia, asking me to try that band as he was unable to hear me on 40m.  I called CQ on 3.610 and this was answered by Ivan who was a good 5/8 signal.  Unfortunately he was not hearing me as well, with my signal being 3/3 to Renmark.  Only one other contact was logged on 80m and that was with Michael VK5FMLO from the southern suburbs of Adelaide (5/8 both ways).

It was now just after 0630 UTC (5.00 p.m. local time) and I moved back to the 40m band.  The band was very busy with quite a few signals coming in from Europe.  I called CQ on 7.140 and this was answered by Greg VK5GJ at Meadows in the Adelaide Hills.  Greg was very low down, but as we both had very low noise floors, we were able to hear each other perfectly (5/1 both ways).  I was also called by Peter VK3TKK who was portable in the Organ Pipes National Park VKFF-0627, running just 2.5 watts.  Peter was a genuine 5/9 signal.  Fantastic signal Peter with QRP.

Unfortunately a ZL station came up on 7.138 and was very strong and was bleeding over, so I QSY’d to 7.144.  I there worked a further 8 stations from VK2, VK3, VK4 and New Zealand.  It was nice to log Oliver ZL1XS (formerly ZL1AAW), who often features in my portable log. It didn’t take long and I started to experience QRM from above on 7.146, and I then had Jeff GW3UZS start calling CQ on my frequency.  I tried getting back to Jeff, but sadly he was unable to hear me.  I took this as my opportunity of leaving 40m and QSYing to the 20m band hoping to get some DX in the log.

I had a great start on 20m with my first caller being Stepan RA4SAT in Russia, with a good 5/9 signal.  This was followed by Rob VK4AAC who was now back home after his park activation.  I then logged Mark VK4HDY and Phil VK6ADF, and I then had a run of European callers on the long path.  Countries worked were Slovak Republic, Ukraine, Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, Italy, Spain, Austria, and Germany.  Signals were not great, but it was still very pleasing to be able to add some DX to the log.

It was now 0829 UTC (6.59 p.m. local time) and I decided to give 80m a go again.  Roald VK1MTS was the first station logged this time with a nice 5/8 signal from the Australian Capital Territory.  This was followed by Mike VK5FMWW/VK5FVSV, and then Hans VK5YX in the southern suburbs of Adelaide with a huge signal.  I logged a total of 16 stations on 80m from VK2, VK3, VK4, and VK5.  Conditions were very good on 80m.

One of the stations spoken to on 80m was Chris VK2SR, who suggested when I finished on 80 I should come up to 40m and join him with a regular sked he has with a group of USA stations.  Which is exactly what I did, logging Stan W4KR in South Carolina, and Joe W5JI Florida.  I have very fond memories when I was a teenager and was involved in Short Wave Listening, of listening to Joe when he was K5THB back in the early 1980’s.  Joe was often heard chatting to other USA stations and VK’s, including W4MIP and W2GO.  I still have my original SWL logs and the QSL cards from back in those days.  So it was a real pleasure to be able to speak with Joe.

The sun was now starting to disappear behind the hills, and I sat back in the deck chair for a while to enjoy the spectacular sunset.

I booked in to the 7130 DX Net where I logged 5 stations.  This included Bill W1OW in Massachusetts in the USA, Ed NT2X in Brooklyn New York in the USA, Brian ZL2ASH in Wellington New Zealand, John VK6VZZ mobile, Peter VK7PRN, Ron VK3MRH, Andy VK4TH, William FO5JV in French Polynesia, and finally Chuck K9RM in Indianna USA.

Time was marching on, and now that it was completely dark, the temperature had dropped to a chilly 11 deg C.  I was also feeling very hungry.  So I QSY’d up the band where I logged my lovely wife Marija VK5FMAZ.  A little bit of a challenge, but we made it. I put out some last CQ calls on 7.135 and logged just 3 further stations.

I decided to have a quick tune around the band before going QRT and I’m pleased I did.  I found T2AQ  from Tuvalu calling CQ on 7.190, working split.  To my surprise, he had no callers, and I was very pleased when he came back to my first call.  This was anew DXCC entity for me whilst operating portable.

This was a very enjoyable activation, with a total of 99 stations worked.  It was pleasing to be able to log some European DX on the 20m band, and also to work some DX on 40m, including a new country, Tuvalu.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3PF
  2. VK5KLV
  3. VK2IO
  4. VK3GGG
  5. VK3PMG
  6. VK5PET
  7. VK7FRJG
  8. VK4AAC/p (Eumundi Conservation Park VKFF-1538)
  9. Vk7DW
  10. VK2SVN
  11. VK3TKK/m
  12. VK7BC
  13. VK6XL/p
  14. VK5PL/p (Sandy Creek Conservation Park 5CP-204 and VKFF-0933)
  15. VK2HL/p
  16. VK3MLU
  17. VK5GJ
  18. VK7VZ
  19. VK7ZGK
  20. VK2BXE
  21. VK3VIN
  22. VK3FCMC
  23. VK1DI
  24. VK3TKK/p (Organ Pipes National Park VKFF-0627)
  25. VK2LX
  26. VK7JON
  27. VK6JAH
  28. VK2HPN/m
  29. VK2HHA
  30. VK3PAT/p
  31. VK4HNS
  32. VK3RW
  33. VK2VKB
  34. VK3FOTO
  35. VK4QQ
  36. VK2SR
  37. VK2MOR
  38. VK3AJA
  39. ZL1XS
  40. W4KR
  41. W5JI
  42. VK3CKL
  43. W1OW
  44. NT2X
  45. ZL2ASH
  46. VK6VZZ/m
  47. VK7PRN
  48. VK5FMAZ
  49. VK3MRH
  50. VK4TH
  51. FO5JV
  52. K9RM
  53. VK3ELH
  54. VK2YES/p
  55. VK3HSB
  56. VK2IAN
  57. T2AQ

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. RA4SAT
  2. VK4AAC/p
  3. VK4HDY
  4. VK6ADF
  5. OM7OM
  6. UT9MZ
  7. ON4VT
  8. VK6XN
  9. OK2TS
  10. OH6IU
  11. VK2XXM
  12. IK2ZJN
  13. IK1GPG
  14. IK8FIQ
  15. IZ5CML
  16. VK4ABH
  17. IK2BBU
  18. EA4DTV
  19. IZ8DFO
  20. IW2BNA
  21. OE3PTC
  22. DL2SBF
  23. IZ1ERW
  24. ON5SWA

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5HS
  2. VK5FMLO
  3. VK1MTS
  4. VK5FMWW
  5. VK5FVSV
  6. VK5YX
  7. VK3GGG
  8. VK3PMG
  9. VK5GJ
  10. VK3SQ
  11. VK4HNS
  12. VK3DQL
  13. VK5FANA
  14. VK2PDW
  15. VK5HYZ
  16. VK2SR
  17. VK2HPN/m
  18. VK3EY

 

 

Totness Recreation Park VKFF-1754

Late yesterday afternoon (Tuesday 14th March 2017) I activated the Totness Recreation Park VKFF-1754, with a view to logging a few Victorian (VK3) stations for the Victorian Local Government Award Challenge, and hopefully working a little bit of DX.  As it turned out, I did manage to log a number of VK3 stations, but the DX was virtually non existant.

Totness Recreation Park is located just 2.5 km west of my home QTH and about 35 km east of Adelaide.  I have activated this park twice in the past.  For information on those activations, please see my previous posts…….

https://vk5pas.org/2016/08/03/totness-recreation-park-vkff-1754/

https://vk5pas.org/2016/08/03/totness-recreation-park-vkff-1754/

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Totness Recreation Park in the Adelaide Hills.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

The Totness Recreation Park is 41 hectares (101 acres) in size and was established in 1970.  It is divided into two sections by the busy South Eastern Freeway (the main highway between Adelaide and Melbourne).  The northern section consists of 9 hectares (22 acres) of scrub and a dam.  The southern section comprises 32 hectares (79 acres) of scrub.  The park is surrounded by rural properties which are primarily used for grazing.

The park consists of Messmate Stringybark and Manna Gum woodlands, which at one time prior to European colonisation were common throughout the Mount Lofty Ranges.  More than 180 native plants species have been recorded within the park.  Plant species of conservation significance recorded within the park include the state rare Manna Gum and the regionally rare Spider Orchid.

A variety of native animals and birds call the park home.  This includes the Western Grey kangaroo, Common Ringtail Possum, Short-beaked Echidna, and Koala.  Various bat species can also be found in the park.  A total of 36 species of native bird have been recorded in the park, including the rare Shining Bronze cuckoo and declining woodland birds including the white-throated treecreeper, scarlet robin and Bassian thrush.

Introduced species that can be found in the park include Fallow deer.  During my previous visits to the park I have always seen deer, and this occasion was no different, with two deer sighted on my way home.

The park takes its name from Totness in Devon in the United Kingdom.  The southern section of Totness was originally granted in 1854 to John Dunn (1802-1894), a parliamentarian, philanthropist, and a prominent citizen of Mount Barker.

John_Dunn_Sr.

John Dunn.  Image courtesy of Wikipedia

The area around the dam was leased by the District Council of Mount Barker for wood and bark harvesting. The bark of the golden wattle Acacia pycnantha was taken for use in the Mount Barker tannery for tanning leather.  While the messmate stringybark Eucalyptus obliqua trees were cut for firewood for use in steam boilers and brick kilnds

The land that is now Totness Recreation Park was formerly the property of the South Australian Railways and the Department of Transport.  On the 15th January 1970 the land was transferred to the (former) National Parks Commission and dedicated for reserve purposes, under the National Parks Act 1966.  Totness Recreation Park was constituted on 22nd January 1972 under the new National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 to protect natural habitat and provide recreational opportunities for the local community.

During the construction of the South Eastern Freeway during the mid 1960’s, the park was dissected into two uneven portions totalling 41 hectares.  The dam in the northern section of the park was constructed in 1884 and was used up until 1944 to supply the steam locomotives travelling to and from Victor Harbour until 1955.  Water was piped to an outlet at the Mount Barker Railway Station, approximately five kilometres away.  Until the Mannum to Adelaide pipeline was completed in 1955, the dam served as a water sourced for the township of Mount Barker.  Today, you can fish for Redfin in the dam.  The southern section of the park was totally burnt out during the 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires.

measdays-1968.JPG

Above:- Construction of the South Eastern Freeway in the Adelaide Hills, c. 1968.  Image courtesy of http://www.ozroads.com.au

In 2006, the Minister for Environment and Conservation released a discussion paper on a review of the reserve classification system in South Australia.  Under the model proposed, Totness would become a Conservation Park.  However, it appears that this paper has not progressed very far.

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Above:- Aerial shot showing the proximity of the park to my home QTH.  Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

I operated from the southern section of the park, in my normal spot off Haines Fire Track, which runs off Liebelt Summer Track.  The road is signposted that local traffic only is allowed.  However I have never been quizzed by the authorities.  The road is dirt and is quite steep and rocky in parts, but is passable in a conventional vehicle.

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Above:- Aerial shot of the park showing my operating location.  Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

The more I go to parks, the more I come to the conclusion that the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, do not want people in their parks.  A significant number of parks that I have been to are often locked up by gates with multiple padlocks and no pedestrian access other than climbing over barbed wire fences.  Totness does have a pedestrian access point in the southern section.  But as you can see by the photo below, it is not designed for people unless they are of skinny build.  Certainly not user friendly for the frail or handicapped.  During my visit to Totness, I spoke to some mountain bikers who had to carefully lift their bikes over the gate to each other.  And yet Totness is declared to be a ‘recreation’ park.

IMG_0030

I ran my normal portable set up during this activation, which consisted of the Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts output and the 20/40/80m linked dipole supported on the 7 metre heavy duty telescopic squid pole.  It was a warm afternoon, still being about 29 deg C at 4.15 p.m. South Australian local time at the time of setting up.  There is a nice cleared area between the fenceline and the scrub.

I put out a few CQ calls on 7.144 on 40m, and it wasn’t long before these were answered by Les VK5KLV with a very strong 5/9 plus from Port Augusta in the north of South Australia.  This was followed by Trevor VK5TW in the Adelaide Hills foothills, and then Matt VK5MLB in the southern suburbs of Adelaide.  Both Trevor and Matt were 5/9, and this was a promising sign for logging VK5 stations during the activation.  Conditions locally of late have been quite poor on 40m.

I logged a total of 27 stations on 40m, from VK1, VK2, VK3, and VK5.  This included 11 VK3 stations and one or two new Shires to go towards my tally.  Unfortunately I had to leave 7.144 as a VK2 net started up on 7.146 and one or two of the stations there were bleeding over onto 7.144.

I then headed off to 20m hoping to log some DX, following on from my successful activation of Mount Loft/Cleland Conservation Park on Friday.  But that was not to be.  No DX was logged.  In fact I only logged 2 stations, Hans VK6XN, and Andrew VK6AS.  Despite numerous CQ calls I had no further takers.  I tuned across the 20m band and only heard 2 or 3 European stations coming in on the long path, and they were quite weak.  What a difference a few days can make.

I then called CQ on 3.610 on 80m, where I logged 5 stations from VK3 and VK5.  Despite conditions being quite good on 80m my CQ calls went unanswered, so I headed back to have one last listen on 40m before heading home for dinner.  I logged a further 20 stations on 7.144 from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, and VK7, including my lovely wife Marjia VK5FMAZ who was 5/9 plus on ground wave to Totness.

Prior to going QRT I had a quick tune across the band and found Dom E51KTA in the South Cook Islands calling CQ on 7.170.  Dom’s signal was 5/9 and I was fortunate to find him with very few callers.  I also heard T2AQ from Tuvalu working split on 7.159 with a huge pile up from Japan, North America and VK.  I gave half a dozen calls, but sadly could not be heard amongst the dog pile.

After a few hours in the park I had a total of 55 contacts in the log.  The highlight of the activation was to log E51KTA on 40m.  I also had some interaction with a bushwalker and a couple of mountain bikers.  I took some time out to explain to them the hobby of amateur radio and the parks programs.  They seemed to be very interested.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5KLV
  2. VK5TW
  3. VK5MLB
  4. VK2HOT
  5. VK5RM
  6. VK4VXX/2
  7. VK3FSPG
  8. VK3MPR
  9. VK3FRAB
  10. VK3FCMC
  11. VK3MLU
  12. VK2IO
  13. VK2XSE/m
  14. VK3GGG
  15. VK3PMG
  16. VK5FAKV
  17. VK3MH
  18. VK2NEO
  19. VK3RU
  20. VK3MCK
  21. VK2XXM
  22. VK1DI
  23. VK5NFT/m
  24. VK3OHM
  25. VK3SIM
  26. VK3FOGY
  27. VK2KDP
  28. VK5FANA
  29. VK3FRJD/m
  30. VK7JON
  31. VK4GSF
  32. VK5FMAZ
  33. VK7DW
  34. VK2PEP
  35. VK3PNF/m
  36. VK2SR
  37. VK3FSLG
  38. VK3FOTO
  39. VK2YES/p
  40. VK3ZLD
  41. VK2NWB
  42. VK2FSAV
  43. VK4HNS
  44. VK2IFT
  45. VK2ND
  46. VK2QM
  47. VK6AV/p
  48. E51KTA

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK6XN
  2. VK6AS

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK3GGG
  2. VK3PMG
  3. VK3VBI
  4. VK5FANA
  5. VK5FMWW

References.

Government of South Australia, 2007, ‘Totness Recreation Park Management Plan’

Wikipedia, 2017, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Totness_Recreation_Park&gt;,viewed 15th March 2017

Mount Lofty VK5/SE-005 and Cleland Conservation Park 5CP-042 & VKFF-0778

This afternoon (Saturday 11th March 2017) I activated Mount Lofty VK5/SE-005 and Cleland Conservation Park 5CP-042 & VKFF-0778 in the Adelaide Hills.  This was as part of an afternoon/morning of VK/Europe/UK SOTA activations, in which it was hoped that a number of Summit to Summit contacts would be obtained between VK & Europe/UK.  The event was organised by Andrew VK1AD, Mike 2E0YYY, and Ed DD5LP.

This also coincided with National Parks Week.

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I have activated this summit and the park many times previously and it is just a short 20 minute drive from home to get there.  So this was going to be a triple header.  An activation for Summits on the Air (SOTA), an activation for World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF), and an activation for the VK5 National & Conservation Parks Award.

Screen Shot 2017-03-11 at 10.28.49 pm

Above:- Map showing the location of Mount Lofty, located within the Cleland Conservation Park.   Image courtesy of Open Street Map.

My wife Marija VK5FMAZ followed me over and we set up in our normal spot on the eastern side of the summit, away from the crowds of tourists who frequent the lookout and restaurant at the summit.  Mount Lofty is 727 metres above sea level and is worth 4 SOTA points.  It is the highest point in the Mount Lofty Ranges, otherwise known as the Adelaide Hills.  The summit is about 15 km east of the city centre of Adelaide, the capital city of South Australia.

Mount Lofty was named by Captain Matthew Flinders on 23 March 1802 during his circumnavigation of the Australian continent.  The summit was first climbed by a European when the explorer Collet Barker, climbed it in April 1831, almost six years before the city of Adelaide was settled.  A stone cairn at the summit was originally used to mark the trig point, and in 1885 this was replaced by an obelisk which served as the central reference point for surveying purposes across Adelaide.  In 1902 the obelisk was rededicated and renamed as the “Flinders Column”.

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Above:- Aerial shot showing our operating spot.  Image courtesy of google maps.

For this activation we ran the Yaesu FT-857d, initially 10 watts PEP (and later 40 watts), and the 80/40/20m linked dipole supported on the 7 metre telescopic heavy duty squid pole.

I started off, calling CQ on 7.090 and this was answered by Jason VK2FAVL.  This was Jason’s 1st ever contact on HF.  I handed the mic over to Marija who also logged Jason.  Next up was Darrin VK3FDAP, followed by Geoff VK3SQ, and Peter VK3TKK/mobile.  Again for each call, I handed the mic over to Marija who logged the callers in her log.  We had qualified the summit.

Our first Summit to Summit contact of the day was with Andrew VK1AD who was portable on SOTA peak Mount Ginini VK1/ AC-008.  Andrew had a beautiful 5/8 signal and reciprocated with a 5/8 for us.  Marija had her fill, and decided to head home.  I continued to operate on 40m on 7.090 and logged a steady flow of callers.  At times, mini pile ups ensued.  Please stick around if I do not get you initially.  I strongly suspect that some people give up after trying 2 or 3 times.  I won’t move off a frequency until I know for sure there are no further callers, so I will get to you.

I logged a total of 58 stations on 40m from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, and VK7.  This included two further Summit to Summit (S2S) contacts:-

  • Bernard VK2IB/3, VK3/ VE-061
  • Andrew VK1MBE/p, VK2/ SC-050
  • Compton VK2HRX/p, VK2/ CT-043

And also the following Park to Park (P2P) contacts:-

  • Mike VK3XL/p, Gippsland Lakes National Park VKFF-0747
  • Bernard VK2IB/3, Alpine National Park VKFF-0619
  • Neil VK4HNS/p, Bayview Conservation Park VKFF-1469.

Other interesting contacts included Duncan VK3LZ who was using an indoor magnetic loop antenna from his shack (5/8 sent and 5/6 received).  Duncan was surprised I could hear him.  I also spoke with Peter VK3YE who was portable at Chelsea Beach using his home brew BitX40 transceiver (5/7 both ways).

I then headed over to the 20m band where I found John VK6NU/p on SOTA peak Mount William VK6/ SW-042.  John had a nice 5/7 signal.

I didn’t expect to work much DX during this activation, yet alone any of the DX SOTA activators.  Band conditions on 20m, whilst I’ve been portable of late, have been poor to say the least.  Well, was I surprised.  I ended up logging 13 Summit to Summit contacts with stations in Europe and the United Kingdom.  They are as follows:

  • Jose EA2IF/p, EA2/ NV-151
  • Ignacio EA2BD/p, EA2/ NV-092
  • Tom HB9SOTA, HB/ SZ-025
  • Mike 2E0YYY/p, Shining Tor G/ SP-004
  • Anthony MoVED/p, G/ TW-003
  • Andy G6PJZ/p, G/ TW-002
  • Csaba YO6PIB/p, YO/ EC-426
  • Karl M3FEH/p, G/ DC-003
  • Carl 2E0HPI/p, G/ TW-001 and GFF-0012
  • Steve 2E0EFP/p, G/ TW-001 & GFF-0012
  • Colin M1BUU/p, G/ NP-008
  • Adrian GW4AZS/p, Corndon Hill GW/ MW-013
  • Ed DD5LP/p, DL/ AM-176

Carl 2E0HPI and Steve 2E0EFP were also in GFF-0012.  This was Carl’s first VK Park to Park contact.  And it was Steve’s first ever time on HF.  Not a bad induction to the HF bands Steve.

I also logged Andrew VK1AD who was on VK1/ AC-008.

All up I logged a total of 49 stations on 20m from VK1, VK2, VK4, VK5, VK6, VK8, Spain, Italy, New Zealand, Germany, Croatia, Bulgaria, Switzerland, England, Slovak Rep, Romania, Wales, France, Sweden, Belgium, & Portugal.

To finish off the activation I spent a short time on 80m, logging a total of 5 stations, including Gerard VK2IO who was on SOTA peak Bulgo Hill VK2/ IL-017 in the Royal National Park VKFF-0435.

16113310_10154110388496184_5219508512893717024_o

Above:- Gerard VK2IO on VK2/ IL-017 and VKFF-0435

This was a really enjoyable activation.  Sadly I had to go QRT as I was eventually washed out by the rain.  It became increasingly more heavy as the activation went on.  I spent quite a bit of time in the latter half of the activation huddled underneath the bothy bag.

I had a total of 113 contacts in the log.  This included twenty (20) Summit to Summit contacts and six (6) Park to Park contacts.

Thankyou to everyone who called and made this such a terrific activation, and as always, many thanks to those chasers/hunters who took the time to spot me.  Your efforts are appreciated, and certainly affect the number of contacts that end up in my log.

I worked the following stations:-

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References.

Wikipedia, 2017, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Lofty&gt;, viewed 11th March 2017